A Tall Order

Late summer is an unusual time to be felling trees, but for a few warm sunny days, the familiar winter sound of chainsaws returned to Pullabrook Woods. Small-scale woodland contractor, Martin Underhill and his colleague, Josh were felling a small area of large Douglas fir trees. This is a skilled operation at any time of year, but in the summer, extra care is needed to avoid late nesting birds, which is not usually a problem when the woodland wildlife isRead more

Saving a Rare Species – The Plight of the Elm

East Dartmoor Woods and Heaths National Nature Reserve is just one of over 200 NNRs across England, and Natural England designate these areas to “protect some of our most important habitats”. These conservation areas are widely varied but, here in the woods of East Dartmoor, a team of volunteers is helping to conserve a tree that, over recent decades has become scarce and, while being worthy of protection itself, it also holds the key to the survival of a rareRead more

Finding Treasure: Heritage and Wildlife of the Bovey Valley

The wildlife of the Bovey Valley has adapted to human influences for thousands of years, and today, there are many clues in the landscape showing where and how our ancestors have lived, side-by-side with nature for millennia. Remains of stone buildings from prehistoric and medieval times are scattered through the valley and recent studies have recorded where enclosures and boundaries defined different land uses. Further work by archaeologists continues to tell the story of human habitation in the Bovey which,Read more

Replenishing Resources – Carbon Capture in Action

On a misty spring-time Dartmoor morning, a group of employees and customers of Premier Paper Group got together for a company tree planting day in East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. As a paper manufacturer and supplier, Premier Paper is aware of its corporate responsibility for the resources they use and is working with the Woodland Trust on a ‘Carbon Capture’ scheme. The regional manager of Premier Paper explained how the paper industry uses a proportion of recycled material when possibleRead more

Students Spring into Action

Just six weeks on from their last visit, the students of the University of Exeter were back in the woods to continue their conservation task at the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. In that short time the seasons had changed and, on a cool morning, some spring time wildlife was waiting to welcome the students. Their aims for the day were to clear undergrowth around some of the archaeological features in the valley; two ancient farmsteads are being gradually revealedRead more

Sun, Trees, Tools and Tall Tales

You can’t organise the sun, but if we could, we couldn’t have planned it any better. On the 25th March we had the sun, we had warmth and we had lots of people having fun and learning about how and why we manage our woods (in the past and in the present). Down in the glade – where the sun kept everyone warm – there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere whilst people ate their picnics and took part in variousRead more

Hard Work, Soft Hearts: Timber in the Bovey Valley

The sweet smell of freshly cut western red cedar timber rises above the distant roar of chainsaws and rumble of tractors. For the last time this winter season, the team of woodland contractors have been at work in Houndtor Woods, deep in the Bovey Valley. Before spring picks up pace, this final felling job is being brought to a close, opening up the shadiest part of the conifer plantation to bring in the sun and revive the depleted wildflowers downRead more

Bovey Valley Timber: Your Questions Answered

Why are trees felled in the woods of the Bovey Valley? How are they felled and how is the timber extracted? Where does the timber go after it leaves the Bovey Valley? Timber! Tools, Trees and Tall Tales is a special spring-time event hosted by the Woodland Trust and Natural England, as part of the wider HLF funded Moor than meets the eye project, where you will be able to find out the answers to these questions … and lotsRead more

Take Shelter in Yarner Wood

For the wildlife of Dartmoor, Yarner Woods provides essential shelter from the extremes of the moorland weather, the swirling wind, thunderous storms and even the occasional blazing sun. The grand oaks of this nature reserve withstand the regular pressures thrown at them from the Atlantic weather systems and maintain a calm and safe hideout for the wild residents. But for those sensitive creatures that need a little more protection, a new wooden shelter has just been built among the oakRead more

Firewood for Good Gleaning

Across Dartmoor, there are visual signs of ancient boundaries where land owners once marked their land and, even today, the maps of the moor show the commons where people could graze their livestock in a regulated way. As times have changed, these rights have evolved and become more suited to our times. There were once areas where local people had the right to allow their pigs to eat acorns or beech mast but these practices are no longer relevant toRead more